Swiss Chard and Basil Pesto
Last month I talked about all of the fantastic fresh vegetables you can get at the Farmer’s Market. That’s still the case in July but also in July your home gardens should be producing like crazy. That’s when you want some recipes to use all of that wonderful fresh, organic bounty.
Pesto is just such a recipe. Traditional pesto calls for all basil as the green along with pine nuts, olive oil and parmesan cheese. I have found, however, that all that basil can be a little overpowering. So, the best way to tone it down is to mix it with another green. You can use spinach, arugula, beet greens, anything you have on hand. The best thing about a pesto spaghetti dinner is that it’s nearly no cook. The pesto is a raw sauce, just add hot pasta and you have a lovely meal.
In this case I had an abundance of parsley and just enough basil and chives in my garden, all I had to do was buy some Swiss Chard at the Farmer’s Market to make a delicious meal. I know, I did a Swiss Chard recipe last month. But it’s so good and if you have it growing in your garden, you want to use it, right? So, here’s how you do it.
Ingredients for Swiss Chard, Basil Pesto by Connie Cockrell
1/2 pound of Swiss Chard, chopped, leaves and stems
1 small bunch basil,
1 handful chives
1 Cup parsley, picked from stem
1 4oz pkg pine nuts (or walnuts if you prefer)
Salt, Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes to taste
1 1/2 lb Gluten Free Pasta
1/2 Cup olive oil
Heat the water for the pasta while you’re chopping the vegetables.
Gluten Free Pasta
Drop the pasta in the boiling water and follow the package directions for al dente pasta. NOTE: I used this Hodgson Mill’s pasta because I really wanted an angel hair type pasta. I was disappointed to see that once I started mixing it into the pesto, the strands broke down into 1/2 – 1/4 inch bits. Not spaghetti at all. It tasted fine, just wasn’t spaghetti. Use your favorite pasta.
Bring a small skillet to medium high heat.
Toasting Pine Nuts
Drop in the pine nuts to toast. DO NOT walk away. As soon as you can smell the nuts, it’s too late. Watch that pan, toss around to brown evenly. As soon as they brown, take them off the heat to cool.
Swiss Chard, Chopped
Trim the stem ends of the Swiss Chard and chop.
Basil by Connie Cockrell
Strip the basil from the stems, same with the parsley. Have the chives on hand, ready to go into the food processor.
Grated Parmesan Cheese by Connie Cockrell
Using a grating blade in your food processor, grate the Parmesan cheese. I just grated a whole brick of it. You won’t need all of it but it’ll be ready for your next pasta meal. Empty the cheese into a bowl. No need to clean out the food processor.
Pine Nuts in Food Processor by Connie Cockrell
In the food processor, change out the grating blade for the regular blade. Add the pine nuts and whirl until nearly pasty.
Process Swiss Chard by Connie Cockrell
Add the Swiss Chard a batch at a time. Process until reduced then add more.
Parsley by Connie Cockrell
Add the parsley and process.
Scrape down the bowl of the food processor by Connie Cockrell
Scrape down the sides a little to get the nuts to mix with the greens.
Add Basil and Chives by Connie Cockrell
Add the basil and chives. Whirl some more, drizzling in 1/2 of the olive oil to loosen the sauce.
Add Parmesan Cheese and Red Pepper Flakes by Connie Cockrell
Add the cheese and the red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Process again adding more olive oil to loosen.
Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and do a quick rinse. In a large bowl, drop the pesto onto the spaghetti and toss. Add some of the pasta water, it just helps loosen the sauce. Stir to combine. Top with more basil and some grated Parmesan cheese.
Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Please tell us about your Farmer’s Market or favorite pasta recipe in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.
My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Thrillers, Mysteries and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.